[ppml] Markets, pricing, transparency, 2008-2 / 8.3.9

Tom Vest tvest at pch.net
Mon Mar 17 02:33:12 EDT 2008

On Mar 17, 2008, at 2:01 AM, Randy Bush wrote:

> sorry to be picky, but ...
> perhaps we should try to facilitate, foster, and incent, as opposed to
> enforce?  perhaps the customer/member is not our enemy?
> randy

Hi Randy,

I agree 100% -- that's why I ended with the question. But I was  
answering a question that used the term "enforcement". Perhaps the  
question would have been better asked and answered using different  
terms, but that doesn't really get at your point. This does, I think:

What things (rules/norms/goals) can be advanced "automatically"  
simply because they are restatements of existing practice, vs. what  
can be advanced through encouragement, incentives, etc. vs. what can  
be achieved only by coercion and enforcement is totally determined by  
what the members of a community value. If they value a particular  
goal, then maybe the inducements to comply don't need to be so big,  
and the penalties for noncompliance don't really matter. For goals  
that they don't support, artificial incentives have to be large, and  
penalties severe, and even so the compliance rate is likely to be  
low. It is nice (and eminently practical) to assume that the customer/ 
member is never our enemy -- we being fellow community members -- but  
that shifts the burden of critical scrutiny to the rules/norms/goals  

I guess the thing that makes individuals members of a shared  
community is the opportunity for them to talk to each other, with  
some chance of informing and persuading each other about the relative  
merits of different proposed (rules/norms/goals). So long as we're  
still doing that, I think that we're voting "not my enemy" with our  
actions -- even if we occasionally make small errors with our words ;-)


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